Removal of CJ Peiris unconstitutional: Justice Minister- Remedial measures promised
Posted on April 6th, 2021

By Saman Indrajith Courtesy The Island

Justice Minister Ali Sabry told Parliament yesterday that the process of removing Mohan Peiris from the post of Chief Justice in 2015 was illegal.

Answering a question raised by Matale District SLPP MP Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon, Minister Sabry said that he would take appropriate action after consulting Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on the unconstitutional” removal of Chief Justice Peiris on Jan 28, 2015.

Minister Sabry said that a Chief Justice could be removed only after obtaining the majority support of Parliament.

He said that a Chief Justice could be removed only if there was evidence to back any allegations of misconduct, or on the grounds of incapacity.

Justice Minister Ali Sabry said that former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake had been removed from her post in keeping with the Standing Orders of Parliament.

Sabry said that Bandaranayake’s removal had been challenged in court, which had ruled that the removal was consistent with the Constitution.

The Justice Minister said that Mohan Peiris had later been appointed to the post by then President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Mohan Peiris was removed from his post in January 2015 by then President Maithripala Sirisena.

Ali Sabry said that the President could not remove the Chief Justice without the approval of Parliament, and therefore, the removal of Peiris from the post of CJ had been unconstitutional.

MP Tennakoon demanded to know whether a Secretary to the President could remove a Chief Justice by issuing a letter to that effect.

Minister Sabry said that a Chief Justice should be removed through a parliamentary process and added that a President could not effect such a removal arbitrarily.

The Parliament is empowered by the Constitution to decide on the removal of a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal Court. The Standing Order in Parliament mentions the process that needs to be followed,” said the Justice Minister.

The removal of Mohan Peiris from the post of Chief Justice should be corrected, the minister said, adding that Peiris was a respectable justice in the country’s judicial history. 

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